This week I had the joy of giving a talk/ workshop to some of the Unsettled community members- a global community of travelers & entrepreneurs. The topic was on branding + web design, and the important steps to take when you’re starting a brand, re-branding, or building a new website. I liken your brand to the story you want to tell and the website to the way you tell that story. Watch the full workshop here!
As I’ve mentioned in past articles, like this one, the method I suggest when approaching branding or building a new website is the Holistic Business Plan– so you can get clear on all the connected parts of your business. For example, you’ll want to be clear on your goals for this brand before you start developing a brand, and you’ll want to have a developed brand (at least the visual & written components) before you start building a website. Let’s look closer at the key components of branding:
Branding Element 1: Who is your Ideal Audience?
I think this is one of the most important exercises to do before you start spending time or money developing a brand, creating a logo, building a website, or creating content. Get really clear on who you’re speaking to by asking questions such as:
- Who is your website & brand speaking to?
- Create “client personas”: Be specific when describing each persona- you can have more than 1, but probably not more than 5 (include demographics like age, sex, location, job, salary, etc.).
- What problem do they have and how can you solve it?
- What other brands are they loyal to?
- What kind of language will appeal to them? (casual, formal, etc.
Branding Element 2: What is your brand’s personality?
Here’s where you get really clear on the story you want to tell through your brand (content, social media, photography, other imagery, etc.). Ask yourself these questions:
- What emotions do you want to convey?
- What will appeal to your Ideal Audience (aka client/ customer personas)? Colors, graphics, language, etc.
- What adjectives come to mind when you think of your brand (ex: adventurous, reliable, contemporary, traditional, etc.)
I love this “Brand Archetypes” guide and visual from Iconic Fox! What archetype are you? (remember, we’re talking about your brand’s personality, not your personality!)
For step-by-step help developing your client personas and brand personality, download my “Pre-Marketing Worksheet”!
How does this come together in your website?
A lot of people think they just need that “virtual storefront” to get their business up and running, and they skip these VERY important branding steps, thinking they’ll come back to it later. Big mistake. Working through these branding questions I mentioned, before jumping in to a website project, will save you (and/ or your designer) SO much time (and money)!
Important Website Elements:
1. Design: How does the “look” of the site fit your brand’s personality and appeal to your Ideal Audience? Your color scheme, logo, photography, fonts and graphics should all reflect those adjectives that you want your brand to convey.
2. Functionality: What does your site need to do? How does your site solve the “problem” that your customer/ client has? The functionality of your website should, in part, be guided by your ideal audience and their needs. For example, if your IA is people over 65, you probably shouldn’t make it technically complicated.
3. Language: Most people don’t think of language & writing when they think of branding, but this is a key component. Identifying your Ideal Audience is a great first step in thinking about what language you want to use in the content you create for your website, or anywhere else. Again, take a look at those adjectives you used to describe your brand. . . How can those words (or similar words/ phrases) be used throughout your site? What is the point-of-view you will be speaking from on your site? First person or third person? If you have a personal brand, with a somewhat casual/ friendly voice, I recommend first person. But if you have a business with several employees, and/ or your brand is more “professional” or formal, third person might be better. People always respond to emotional language!
4. CTA’s (Call-to-Action): What action(s) do you want people to take on your website? Most websites have one main CTA, and 1-3 other secondary CTA’s. . . You might have a different CTA for each of your client personas, or you might have a different CTA for each page of your website. However, I suggest being as consistent as possible- you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse your site’s visitors. Here are some common CTA’s:
- Contact me/ schedule an appointment
- Sign up for the newsletter
- Read a blog post or watch a video
- Buy something
- Follow me on social media
Your CTA(s) will be an essential part of your website’s funnel– where are your visitors coming from (ex: social media, google), where you do want them to go (once they land on your site), and what action do you want them to take?